Zatoichi Challenged

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Zatoichi Challenged
Japanese座頭市血煙り街道
HepburnZatōichi chikemurikaidō
Directed byKenji Misumi
Produced byIkuo Kubodera
Written byRyozo Kasahara
Based onZatoichi
by Kan Shimozawa
StarringShintaro Katsu
Jushiro Konoe
Miwa Takada
Yukiji Asaoka
Music byAkira Ifukube
CinematographyChikashi Makiura
Edited byToshio Taniguchi
Production
company
Release date
  • 30 December 1967 (1967-12-30) (Japan)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese

Zatoichi Challenged (座頭市血煙り街道, Zatōichi chikemurikaidō) is a 1967 Japanese chambara film directed by Kenji Misumi and starring Shintaro Katsu as the blind masseur Zatoichi. It was originally released by the Daiei Motion Picture Company (later acquired by Kadokawa Pictures).

Zatoichi Challenged is the seventeenth episode in the 26-part film series devoted to the character of Zatoichi.

Synopsis[edit]

Zatoichi (Katsu) checks into an inn where he shares a room with an ill woman and her young son named Ryota. Before the woman dies, she requests that Zatoichi take her son to his father, an artist living in the nearby town of Maebara. As they travel together, they hitch a ride with a traveling performance troupe.

The final scene of the movie features Ichi fighting his old samurai friend during snowfall in order to protect the young boy. Although having won the fight fairly by seriously wounding his friend Ichi sacrifices himself by throwing his sword at an approaching servant that is given orders to kill the boy thus becoming un-armed. His old samurai friend is unable to strike the now defenseless Ichi with his sword, admits defeat and departs mortally wounded leaving a trail of blood in the snow.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

J. Doyle Wallis, in a review for DVD Talk, wrote that "[w]hile it had the great Kenji Misumi, one of samurai cinema's greats and a personal favorite director of mine, behind the camera, not every film in such a long film cycle can be perfect. Unfortunately this is one of the weaker films. Misumi's direction is still quite good and his signature perfect framing is as fantastic as it ever was, particularly in the great finale which features one of Ichi's longest duels. Katsu is also, as he always was, great. The man could act with any part of his body and he displays some of the finest ear and foot acting you're likely to see. But, while entertaining enough for Katsu and Misum's inherent skill, the film suffers from a slapdash script and that damn annoying kid factor. The series' one major fault was its lack of development and reliance on formula. While usually that formula is a winner, here it just feels a tad tired."[2]

Adaptation[edit]

The 1989 American samurai-action film Blind Fury (starring Rutger Hauer) is a loosely based, modernized version of Zatoichi Challenged.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Zatoichi Challenged". The Criterion Collection. Archived from the original on 2014-05-06. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  2. ^ Wallis, J. Doyle (12 September 2004). "Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, Vol. 17 - Zatoichi Challenged". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on 2014-05-06. Retrieved 5 May 2014.

External links[edit]